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Twitching eye is a muscle spasm in the eyelid.

Twitching eye is a muscle spasm in the eyelid.
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Twitching eye

A ‘twitching eye’ or an ‘eye twitch’ are terms which describe muscle spasms in the eyelid. Most of the time these are mild and go away on their own.

A twitching eye happens when the muscles in your eyelid contract (spasm) without your control.

Causes of twitching eye

Numerous factors can cause eye twitches, including stress, fatigue, bright lights and excess caffeine. These sorts of twitches usually go away on their own.

Eye twitches can remain for longer than a week or become more serious, such as when the eyelid closes for a few seconds, and may be triggered by eye irritations, such as:

Other causes of troublesome eye twitching are blepharospasm (a movement disorder of the muscles around the eye) and hemifacial spasm (spasm caused by irritation of a facial nerve).

Very rarely, serious eyelid spasms may be a sign of a brain and nerve disorder such as Tourette syndrome, Bell’s palsy, or multiple sclerosis

Check your symptoms with healthdirect’s Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

Twitching eye treatments

While most eye twitches are mild and short-lived, it may help to:

If the twitching makes it difficult to keep your eyes open, see your doctor. Depending on the cause, botulinum toxin type A injections (such as Botox or Dysport) in the muscles surrounding your eye may be given to reduce the spasms.

When to see your doctor

While most eye spasms are mild, it’s important to see your doctor if:

  • the twitching lasts longer than a few weeks
  • the twitching closes your eyelid
  • the spasms also happen in other parts of your face or body
  • you have droopy eyelids
  • your eyes are red, swollen, or discharge (fluid) is oozing from them.

Last reviewed: February 2017

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